Saturday, September 15, 2018

Lonely Roads

Lonely Roads
By Michael Cannata

The hum of the tires was like a low whisper that gave voice to the lonely road he drove. The radio stations faded in and out over these long stretches between cities and civilization. Music was always welcome, but he didn't mind the silence. Alone with his thoughts, he preferred listening to the song of the road.

The highway was the path he followed as he crossed the country delivering the loads he carried. His home was a cramped space behind the cab of his rig. He had a family once, and a house that gave him a place to call home, but that was years ago. The long stretches of time between his visits had made them strangers. The last time he made it home it was empty. All he found was a note from his wife explaining why they were gone. He never did learn where they went. Eventually, he stopped even trying to find them.

Long hauls were his livelihood.  He drove coast to coast as easily as people drove across town. Loneliness wasn't something he experienced anymore. After twenty-five years he learned how to cope with the solitude. He grew to relish the isolation and silence that he lived in. Tonight the miles seemed to fly by. His truck moved easily without the drag of a container and he was making good time. He would have some time to kill at this rate.

Truck stops provided comfort and the occasional chance to interact with other drivers. Weather and road conditions made up most of his conversations. The stops were places filled with friendly strangers. The stops gave him a place to shower and shave. He loved the smell of the engine exhaust and the dust of the road, but he hated smelling his own sweat. Once groomed, he would stock up on the meager supplies he needed and start driving again.

The constant crackle of the chatter over the CB radio had grown silent. There were two more waysides where he could pull over for a quick rest before he reached his next destination. He slowed down as he approached the one he liked best and pulled into the darkest corner. It overlooked a deep chasm where a small river ran past. It was a beautiful spot that he knew well. The troopers that patrolled the highways never bothered the truckers that stopped during the night to rest 

He parked his truck and went into the back of his rig; He stood looking at the girl hanging limply from the chains holding her. She'd stopped talking about 300 miles back. She didn't even scream when he approached her naked, bruised body. He considered just tossing her into the ravine now.

Still, it would be days before he could find a new companion. He preferred women that would fight and beg him to stop. But quiet company was better than no company at all.

           Besides, he had some time to kill.

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